Letter to the Editor: Problematic parking policy

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January 31, 2011

11:15 PM

Last week I received a $161 citation for parking in the day student lot near Morton Hall at 7:30 p.m. Although the fine is excessive, that is not my principle concern. There are multiple grounds on which to protest this flawed policy.

The parking spaces are reserved for day students, which does not suggest enforcement beyond the end of the business day, and there are no signs that indicate 24-hour enforcement, or whether the restriction applies only on weekdays.

For students who do not require daytime parking, there are some circumstances that necessitate convenient access after the conclusion of the business day. My concern is that the policy represents a serious security risk for people forced to park off campus and walk. During nighttime hours the majority of spaces are not utilized, which means enforcement is completely unnecessary.

If an adequate system for purchasing temporary parking passes were in place, that would be another story. As far as I know, there are no parking boxes except at William and Mary Hall. It is unrealistic for one to drive to William and Mary Hall if one really needs to park somewhere else on campus. The alternative, a $4 daily pass, is equally unrealistic in most instances.

I mentioned to Bill Horatio, the director of Parking Services, that the parking policy is vague and weakly understood by many, but he countered by saying it is sufficiently advertised — accessible via the website and Parent/Student Handbook. In addition, he said the policy had been included in Student Happenings, and that Parking Services recently created a Facebook fan page. Do they really think that students are going to become Facebook “fans?”

Finally, there is the selective, arbitrary enforcement of the policy. People unaffiliated with the College of William and Mary regularly park on campus in order to attend theater performances and functions at the Mason School of Business. In theory, they are to receive a $161 fine. This is simply not fair. Although a university official said Parking Services tends not to ticket during major functions, what constitutes a function at which to forego enforcement?

There are only two sensible options: allow parking after hours, or install parking boxes in each student lot so that all students can comply without having to shoulder an unjust burden.

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